Addressing the issue – what3words

Have you, as a traveller, ever looked out over a spell-binding landscape, miles from civilisation, and wished you could share the experience with someone? Have you ever tried to follow directions in sketchy handwriting to a legendary waterfall, hidden in the surrounding hills? Have you slumped to the pavement beside your dusty backpack, tired and frustrated after traipsing through a new city’s unfamiliar streets, only to find that the address you have is woefully vague? Yes, yes and yes? Then I have good news for you: the solution has arrived!

Whilst researching the internet for ways to combine my passion for travel with my business and linguistic background, I recently came across what3words, a company whose mission statement is to bring a more comprehensive, simple and accurate addressing system to the world. If you’re now starting to wonder, “What’s wrong with the existing system?”, let me refer you to my first paragraph.

So how does it all work?

what3words has divided the globe into 3m x 3m squares, each of which carries a unique, 3-word address. For example, I am currently tapping away at my computer at burns.gazette.expectant and may, when my attention starts to wander, head to Coffee#1 at showcases.stone.timer for a flat white and a muffin. Now picture yourself looking again at that spell-binding landscape except this time you locate yourself in the what3words app and are able to share the exact coordinates of where you are standing with three simple words. Even better, remember back to that world-stood-still, romantic moment you had one holiday. Wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to return to that exact spot, to stand and to reminisce?

In fact, the more I think about this technology, the more excited I get; it turns out I’m not alone in this. Leaving to one side what3words’ personal potential, it has major commercial and humanitarian implications. The UN are already using this technology for their disaster reporting app, UN-ASIGN, enabling a faster, more accurate response. Mongolia has adopted the system for addressing and, as a result, nomads in traditional gers (tents similar to a yurt) have been able to receive mail for the first time ever.


Sometimes a post code doesn’t quite cut it….

Logistics firms for whom up to 28% of delivery costs come from the final mile, are fast recognising what3words ability to cut delays and increase efficiency and Land Rover have already made their navigation systems 3-word compatible.

In summary then, it’s a technology that increases profitability, helps travellers have more fun, connects people and saves lives. How many enterprises can make a similar claim?

So, my friends, the next time you discover that perfect spot (providing it’s not one you want to keep secret forever), go to your what3words app, get your exact location and share your happiness with precision.


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